Four-star linebacker Porter Gustin committed to USC Tuesday morning, choosing the Trojans over Ohio State, ASU and Utah.
Gustin was the subject of furious recruiting battle between the four candidates, with Ohio State making a late push after it seemed USC had grabbed the lead over the hometown Utes and the Sun Devils, who were favorites of some in Gustin’s inner circle.
The rising Trojan playoff hopes likely played a role in landing Gustin’s commitment, as he placed a premium on challenging for titles during his career. The pick up also further solidifies the recruiting chops of Steve Sarkisian and his staff, which have nabbed nearly every major recruit they’ve set their sights on.
Rated the No. 4 outside linebacker in the class and the No. 2 prospect in the state of Utah by 247Sports composite, Gustin was a highly-coveted target. Rivals placed Gustin’s value even higher, ranking him the top player at his position, which they projected as inside linebacker, and the No. 25 player in the nation. Over at Scout he was listed as the No. 6 defensive end on the board.
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That versatility is a big part of his draw. With a 6-4 frame and the body of a college player already, Gustin could thrive at the next level as a pass rusher at either outside linebacker position.
Alternatively, he could find a home on the inside with the strength, speed and instinct necessary to play middle linebacker.
USC claimed the commitment of Gustin’s friend and fellow Utahan linebacker, five-star Osa Masina in January and could be on their way to securing the signature of four-star Serra linebacker John Houston Wednesday. Four-star middle linebacker Cameron Smith is already enrolled.
With those four commits, the Trojans will have bagged one of the stronger linebacker groups in the country and the foundation for the defenses to come.